Light Reading


When choosing novels and other reading material for your world language students, look for these characteristics: Is it comprehensible? These are the factors that contribute to comprehensibility: Unique Word Count. This is the number of different words in the text. The lower the unique word count, the easier a text is to read. When students know high frequency verbs they can often read at a higher level than is traditionally supposed. Many authors are writing with high frequency verbs and unique word counts in mind. Here are some guidelines for languages with many cognates: -Early level 1:  Under 100 unique [...]

By |2018-08-06T15:43:31-06:00August 6th, 2018|Categories: Classroom Library, Compelling Input, Light Reading, Reading|0 Comments


 “I don’t know how one develops imagination without reading fiction.” —Diane Ravitch If you haven't encouraged your world language students to read novels, think about it. These novels are not classic literature in the target language. Most of our students are not ready for that. Rather, short novels are a special genre of language learner literature: vocabulary controlled, interesting stories of between 2,000 and 10,000 words. There are more and more of these kinds of materials being produced every day because teachers are discovering that reading novels is one of the best ways, if not the best way for students [...]

By |2018-08-06T15:42:23-06:00July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Light Reading, Novels, Reading|0 Comments


This book will make your life easier and your teaching more effective. It is a compilation of the best comprehension checks for reading that I have discovered over 30 years of teaching and researching Free Voluntary Reading with my students. Whether you call it FVR, Sustained Silent Reading or Light Reading, when students read on their own magic happens. When it is taught well, self-selected reading is the best way to differentiate instruction and engage students. This book will show you how to do it--even with reluctant readers. With these best trade secrets from expert reading teachers you will be [...]

Seminar in Seattle

Did a seminar in Seattle this week (the 5th of 5 this month) for the Institute for Educational Development, a division of the Bureau of Education and Research (BER). 62 enthusiastic attendees. Fabulous group! Saw some old friends and made some new ones. Woven throughout every aspect of the day was the crucial need for relationships and empathy. Talked about what works in the world language classroom to make it a place where acquisition happens joyfully and enthusiastically: • How modern Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theory applies to best-practice teaching • The difference between acquisition and learning in world language teaching [...]

THE NATURAL ORDER OF ACQUISITION (Krashen’s Hypotheses Series, #4 of 9)

(Previous post: Acquisition/Learning) The next post in this series (#5/9), The Input Hypothesis, is found here. MANIAC N: The Natural Order of Acquisition Hypothesis "Students acquire elements of grammar in a predictable order that is unaffected by teaching." Stephen Krashen and other researchers contend that the order of acquisition is a natural feature of the human brain. It cannot be altered or rushed. The ability to recognize and produce certain aspects of grammar, and much of the accompanying vocabulary, unfolds as students are exposed to comprehensible input. The natural order of acquisition is not the teaching order. It is useful as a [...]

By |2018-10-22T20:31:01-06:00April 30th, 2018|Categories: Acquisition, Krashen, Light Reading, Sheltering Vocabulary, Word Frequency|0 Comments


These are the reading assignments from the course syllabi in my level 1 and level 3 classes. Most of it is self-selected reading, even in level 1.Level 1 students can read on their own and read an amazing amount once they know the high frequency verbs. This plan really works for my students because it is self-differentiating. Every class we teach is a multi-level class, regardless of the course title... the students spread out all over the place in ability very quickly and allowing them to read what they want is the best i have found to accommodate those differences. [...]